Thursday, May 26, 2005

Overcoming my inner Dennis Koslowski

I have a long and illustrious history with buying expensive techno-gadgets as impulse buys. Almost every technology item I have ever owned was purchased on a whim, and with no buyer’s remorse whatsoever. For example, after graduating from college, I grew so frustrated that I couldn’t find an ISP that was compatible with my old Macintosh LCII that I ran out to Best Buy and bought a new PC that afternoon. I won’t even go into how I bought my current car in a fit of pique with an arrogant car salesman at a different dealer.

Anyway, my latest adventure was I was getting myself all excited to buy a new digital camera. I bought my current one about three years ago – just before my trip to Paris and Spain (with my traveling-buddy LL for those of you who know our polyglot friend). I already knew which one I wanted – a
tiny little one that had 5.1 megapixels (vs. 2.1 on the current one). I found it on sale at Circuit City and bought it on-line, despite the early-adopter price, and made arrangements to pick it up at the store on my way home. Thrilled with the rush of consumerism, I called and told the GF all about my new purchase. Because the GF knew I already had a camera that worked perfectly well – her initial response can best be summarized along the lines of “But, why?”. To her credit, she feigned support and affection for me in my excitement very well on the phone call – much like how one expresses love and support for one’s nephews and nieces when they tell you excitedly about how they saw Santa at the mall and told him all about what they want for Christmas so they’re sure they’ll get whatever they asked for yep, you betcha!

But it stuck in my head for the rest of the day. Why had I just spent that much on a camera where the only benefit was a slightly smaller size and the ability to print bigger pictures than I ever needed to before? By the time I hit the store on the way home (in the middle of a migraine) it got worse. I realized that I’d also need to purchase a new memory card plus a second battery and a case to put it all in – all of which would push the price from “early adopter” to “just plain stupid”. Despite this, I continued my little inner dialogue:

Rational Jason: “Listen, you know this is going to end up costing way more than you thought it would.”
Tech-Geek Jason: “Yeah but look at all the buttons!!! And it’s soooOOOOOOooooo small!!!!!!”
RJ: “Wouldn’t would rather have that money to spend on your trip to Ecuador next weekend?”
TGJ: “It’s got a 3X optical zoom! We’ll be able to zoom in on birds that we see in the jungle and…stuff!”
RJ: “Remember how the GF sounded like we were crazy when we told her about it? Do you want her to think we have some sort of psychological problem?”
TGJ: [sadly, like a 6 year old who realizes he’s wrong] “Well…I guess not….…”
RJ: “How about we buy a nice little camera bag for the camera we have now instead?”
TGJ: [Brightening up again] “Oh YEAH! We’ll need one with a pocket for our spare battery and one for the extra memory card in case we run out, and…”

So, after spending a stressful hour agonizing over the decision in the store, I stepped back from the brink, cancelled the order, and left the store feeling better than ever before about the whole experience. My little camera will do just fine for at least one more international trip. We didn’t get a camera bag because there was nobody at the checkout, but I’ll just have to hit Target instead. They’re only about ten bucks anyway.

Maybe this is a sign that I’m slowly getting over my impulse buying habit. Maybe I’m finally maturing into a responsible adult who makes sensible decisions about how I spend my money. Maybe it just means that, subconsciously, I’d really rather spend the money on a grill for the deck.


3 comments:

Sophist said...

Awww, I woulda kept the new camera... More megapixels means you can crop the pix more and still be able to print big. Plus the movie mode is nice on the new camera... 30 fps at 640x420 resolution? hot hot hot...

On the other hand, you saved $400.

$400.

Holy shit, $400 is a heck of a lot of money! Good job. You're a much stronger person than I.

J.Po said...

Way to save money! The new version of my Elf is here: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00064OB3M/qid=1117148178/sr=8-7/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i7_xgl23/103-0827247-2530261?v=glance&s=electronics&n=507846

I love my camera. Fits in me pocket without notice and takes some mighty fine pix. Mine comes in the color of copper. I bought it only because my APS version of the Elf was stolen. Plus, I got it on a very good sale cause the new ones were coming out. 4 megapixels is plenty for me!

grrrbear said...

Believe me, it was hard to cancel the order, that thing is slick. I don't know why I suddenly developed all this financial maturity all fo a sudden...

After all, Elmo seems equally disinterested in both...

I have a hard time believing that Elmo was traumatized by Katy Perry's decollatage after discovering that he had already "been arou...